1. Addis Ababa;

  2. Axum archaeological monuments;

  3. Axum Stelae;

  4. Bale Mountains National Park Trekking;

  5. Blue Nile Falls and Portuguese Bridge;

  6. Erta Ale Volcano;

  7. Ethiopian Traditional Houses;

  8. Gondar Castles;

  9. Harar Walled City;

  10. Konso National Heritage Site;

  11. Lalibela Rock Hewn Churches;

  12. Lake Assale and Dalol sulfur springs;

  13. Lake Tana Monasteries;

  14. Mekelle with Johannes IV and nearby Rock Hewn Churches

  15. Nechsar National Park;

  16. "New York" Hoodoos Canyon;

  17. Simien Mountains National Park Trekking;

  18. Southern Tribes;

  19. Tigray Rock Hewn Churches;

  20. Yeha Temple.

Top 20 Tourist Attractions of Ethiopia

The ancient Ethiopian monuments throughout Northern Ethiopia form the core of Ethiopia's tourist attractions. In fact, the majority of the tourists follow this itinerary and rightly so. Ethiopia is the only country in Africa South of the Sahara that has ancient historical monuments and Ethiopia's monuments are unique in both their history and their architecture.


A picture is worth a thousand words. Most of our hundreds of pictures are favored in Google! Why? Because no other website has so many beautiful high resolution pictures, taken by ourselves. Our pictures not only show you the beauty of Ethiopia, but they also show that we go everywhere, photographing wildlife, plants, people and culture. They show our professionalism, our keen eye for detail and our passion for the culture and nature of Ethiopia. So why consider booking our our Ethiopia Culture & National Parks modules? Because we don't mislead you like many tour operators do. When the Blue Nile falls are dry.... we tell you. When fog clouds the lava lake of Erte Ale? We let you know. Just drop us a mail and we will check it out for you.

Our tours take you to ALL famous cultural places of Ethiopia, and on top of that, you get to see up to 12 large nature reserves accompanied by a conservation forester. There is nothing similar on the market.

As Ethiopia can be combined with other East African countries, we organize tours in modules. Destinations Overview: Historical Circuit; Danakil Depression; Eastern Route; Simien Mountains; Bale Mountains; Southern Parks Safari; Gambella; Addis Ababa. BUT WAIT: if you buy your international ticket with Ethiopia Airlines, they will sell the internal flights at a price that you can't even ride the bus for. But you MUST plan it all in one package and making changes may be very costly. So let us help you plan your entire trip and book your local flights for an incredibly low price after you booked your international flight with Ethiopian Airlines!


The most famous tourist attractions of Ethiopia on the historical circuit are: the circular Ethiopian Orthodox Churches on islands in Lake Tana, the Blue Nile Falls, the castles of Gondar, the Stellea of Axum, the rock hewn churches of Tigray, the ancient temple of Yeha, and the rock hewn churches in Lalibela. Show me the primary attractions of Ethiopia first.


We have combined these highlights in two itineraries, the first one based on road transportation and the second one based on airtravel between the towns of interest. Both options are absolutely fabulous trips, in which road travel allows you to appreciate more of the countryside, while the second option allows you to see all the highlights in a shorter time, including as a one-week stopover on your way to another country in Africa, like one of the famous safari countries in East of Southern Africa, while traveling on Ethiopian Airlines and taking Addis Ababa as your hub.





Ethiopia Historical Monuments by car

9 days. Price: $890 per person, minimum 4. Hotels, meals, transportation, fees, non-alcoholic beverages, tee/coffee at meals included. Minimum 2 passengers.

Ask for group discount.

Ethiopia Historical Monuments by plane

5 days. Price: $890 per person approximately, pending flight costs. Transportation, entry fees, meals, etc. Prices may vary depending on fluctuating air fairs. The itinerary will be adjusted according to flights Minimum 2 passengers.  Longer itineraries at additional hotel costs allow for a more relaxed program.

Day 1: ADDIS ABABA - BAHIR DAR, road distance ± 580km;

  1. Stop at the bridge across the Blue Nile Gorge, comparable in size to the Grand Canyon in the USA and supposedly the largest canyon of Africa;

  2. In the evening visit the Blue Nile falls if arrival before dark;

  3. Hotel in Bahir Dar.


  1. Morning Flight to Bahir Dar

  2. Visit Blue Nile Falls and Portuguese Bridge;

  3. Hotel in Bahir Dar.

Day 2: LAKE TANA - BLUE NILE FALLS, road distance ± 35km

  1. Day excursion by boat on Lake Tana to visit several of the famous Lake Tana churches and monasteries;

  2. Visit of the Blue Nile Falls;

  3. Sleep at Hotel.

Day 2: BAHIR DAR - GONDAR - by car

  1. Early morning half day excursion by boat on Lake Tana to visit several of the famous Lake Tana churches and the origin of the Blue Nile to watch Hippos;

  2. Afternoon drive to Gondar;

  3. Visit Royal Enclosure with the palaces of 6 kings, including Fasilides Castle;

  4. Visit Fasimile's Bath;

  5. Hotel in Gondar.

Day 3: BAHIR DAR - GONDAR, road distance ± 175km

  1. The Devil's Nose Rock, is a basaltic monolith or hoodoo, located near the village of Addis Zemen, 75km north Bahir Dar on the road to Gondar. On its top is an important roost and possibly nesting place for Ruepell's and other vultures.

  2. Check in in the hotel at Gondar after which a visit to Mentewab's Dining Room (Kusquam) and/or Fasimile's Bathroom depending on available time;

  3. Hotel in Gondar.


  1. Time permitting Visit Mentewab's Castle very early in the morning;

  2. Morning flight to Lalibela;

  3. Church treasures museum Lalibela;

  4. Visit the Northern and Southern rock hewn church complexes;

  5. Hotel in Lalibela.


Day 4: GONDAR - AXUM, road distance ± 350km

  1. Early in the morning visit the City fortress with the palaces of 6 kings;

  2. Road trip to Axum;

  3. Coffee ceremony;

  4. Hotel in Axum.


  1. Early morning excursion to the Southern Complex;

  2. Flight to Axum;

  3. Visit the Stelae compound;

  4. Visit the Tsion Mariam  Church where the Arc of the Covenant is held and the 16th century church on the same complex, which is much more interesting;

  5. Visit Emperor Kaleb's Palace;

  6. Coffee ceremony at a ceremony in a friend's home

  7. Hotel.


Day 5: AXUM - MEKELLE, road distance  ± 250km

  1. Visit the famous beautiful Stellae at Axum;

  2. Visit Queen Sheba's Palace (officially Dongar Palace);

  3. Gudit Stelae Field opposite the palace;

  4. Debre Liqanos Monastery;

  5. Queen Sheba's Pool (May Shum);

  6. Enzana Enscription, a 3-lingual stone describing a battle of King Enzana

  7. King Basen's Tomb;

  8. Ride to Mekelle;

  9. On the way, visit Yeha Temple;

  10. Hotel in Mekelle.


  1. Visit Queen Sheba's Palace (officially Dongar Palace);

  2. Gudit Stelae Field opposite the palace;

  3. Debre Liqanos Monastery;

  4. Queen Sheba's Pool (May Shum);

  5. Enzana Enscription, a 3-lingual stone describing a battle of King Enzana

  6. King Basen's Tomb;

  7. Flight to Addis Ababa.


Day 6: MEKELE - WUKRO - MEKELLE, road distance  ± 45km

  1. Visit Rock Hewn Churches in Wukro;

  2. Visit Palace Emperor Yohannes IV;

  3. Hotel in Mekelle.


Day 7: MEKELE - LALIBELA, road distance ± 430km

  1. Leave early in the morning for Lalibela;

  2. Church treasures museum Lalibela

  3. Hotel in Lalibela.


Day 8: LALIBELA - DESSIE, road distance ± 300km

  1. Visit the churches of Lalibela;

  2. Drive to Dessie;

  3. Hotel in Dessie.


Day 9: DESSIE - ADDIS ABABA road distance ± 340km

  1. last day of the Ethiopia Historical Monuments and return trip to Addis Ababa;

  2. Transfer to hotel.




ADDIS ABABA HIGHLIGHTS: What are the Top 20 Highlights of Addis Ababa and which to chose first

This module facilitates the hub function of the capital with transfers between your hotel and the airport and allows you to see Addis Ababa as well.

Day 1

  1. Arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, usually in the morning. Visa service and custom clearance may take some time.

  2. Pick up at airport and bring you to your hotel where you can have lunch.

  3. Have a rest in the afternoon. You have been many hours on an airplane, spent some time at the airport clearing customs, to arrive in Addis Ababa at an elevation of 2,300m. We recommend you take some rest in the afternoon. But if you are up to it, we can take you to a museum or to the Ethiopian craft market street. If you came from America, you have changed about 9 - 12 time zones, and spent the night in the air. Nevertheless, try to stay awake until after dinner, so that you adjust your biological clock to the Ethiopian day rhythm.

Day 2

  1. City program, which includes the Ethiopian Ethnological Museum, the National Palace or Jubilee Palace museum, the Holy Trinity Cathedral, the Saint George Cathedral, the Railroad Station and Mount Entoto with the palace of Emperor Menelek II. At night a traditional injera meal.

Last Day at the end of your Ethiopia journey

  1. Depending on the hour of your departure, we organize a visit to the Ethiopian National Museum and the Ethiopian Art and craft shops street.

  2. Transfer from your hotel to the airport.

Price: $175. Meals, transportation, fees, non-alcoholic drinks at meals included. Minimum 2 passengers. (Hotel of your choice not included)

Price Airport transfer only in combination with other modules: $25.


Short descriptions of the primary tourist Attractions of Ethiopia

Lake Tana

Lake Tana is the largest lake of Ethiopia and located at a distance of 560 km from Addis Ababa. As the outgoing river of the Lake is the Blue Nile, the Lake is considered the origin of the Blue Nile, one of the two main tributaries of the Upper Nile. Known to the ancient Egyptians and Greeks, the lake has an long history of exposure to the ancient world, and from a very early age, it has been one of the centers of Christianity. The lake houses more than 20 churches and monasteries, mostly located on little islands. Read more about Lake Tana. A short distance from the city of Bahir Dar, the Blue Nile falls of a 60m high cliff at the Blue Nile Falls.


TOP 20 ETHIOPIA TOURIST ATTRACTIONS: Church at Lake Tana, Ethiopia




For two centuries the walled royal enclosure, Fasil Ghebbi, in Gondar served as the capital of the Ethiopian Empire. Initiated by the Ethiopian emperor Fasilides around 1635 and expanded by his successors, Fasil Ghebbi, surrounded by a 900-m-long wall, contains Indian and Baroque style palaces, churches and monasteries, the likes unknown anywhere else in Sub-Saharan Africa.


TOP 20 ETHIOPIA TOURIST ATTRACTIONS: Facilidas' Bath, Gondar, Ethiopia

TOP 20 ETHIOPIA TOURIST ATTRACTIONS: Facilidas' Castle, Gondar, Ethiopia


Simien Mountains National Park

North of Gondar lies the Simien Mountains National Park, with the fourth highest peak of Africa, with some of the most ragged escarpments of Ethiopia and becoming an increasingly popular destination for mountain trekking. The park is home to some extremely endangered animal that only occur in Ethiopia, like the Ethiopian Wolf and the Walia Ibex, a wild goat, the gelada baboon and the Lammergeier, with its 3m wingspan.


TOP 20 ETHIOPIA TOURIST ATTRACTIONS: Ragged landscape at Simien Mountains National Park

TOP 20 ETHIOPIA TOURIST ATTRACTIONS: Gelada Baboon Simien Mountains



The Kingdom of Axum developed enormous stellae, the largest of which are protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The kingdom officially adopted Christianity as the state religion in the fourth century AC. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church claims that the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion in Axum houses the Biblical Ark of the Covenant, in which lie the Tablets of Law upon which the Ten Commandments are inscribed.


Tourist attractions of Ethiopia: Axum Stellae UNESCO World Heritage Site

TOP 20 ETHIOPIA TOURIST ATTRACTIONS: Largest Stella at Axum UNESCO World Heritage Site



The Gheralta region is famous for its rock-hewn churches, most of which are carved out of rock walls of often incredibly unreachable places. While Lalibela has the highest density of rock-hewn churches, the Tigray region has both the largest number of churches as well as the older ones, some of the dating back to the fourth century.


TOP 20 ETHIOPIA TOURIST ATTRACTIONS: Miriam rock hewn chruch entrance, Gheralta, Ethiopia

Tourist attractions of Ethiopia: Rock hewn church in Gheralta, Tigray, Ethiopia


Yeha Temple

The temple of Yeha is the oldest standing building in Ethiopia, located at the village of  Yeha. The structure of the building is similar to ancient buildings in South Arabia dating to around 700 BC and assuming the same age, the Temple of Yeha is the oldest African stone building of Africa south of the Sahara.


TOP 20 ETHIOPIA TOURIST ATTRACTIONS: Yeha Temple, 1000 BC, Tigray, Ethiopia

TOP 20 ETHIOPIA TOURIST ATTRACTIONS: Yeha archaeological monument restauration by German archaeologists


Rock hewn churches of Lalibela

Debatably the greatest tourist attractions of Ethiopia are the rock hewn churches of Lalibela. 11 monolithic rock-hewn cave churches form the 13th-century make up the 'New Jerusalem' at Lalibela, a small town with circular-shaped two storied houses. Lalibela is one of the holiest places of the Ethiopian Church, attracting thousands of tourists every year.



TOP 20 ETHIOPIA TOURIST ATTRACTIONS: Rock Hewn Church Lalibela Ethiopia


Living culture and people of Ethiopia

Ethiopia is incredibly rich in living culture. With more that 85 different tribes, each tribe has its own traditions and events that are celebrated at different moments an places. Moreover, there are so many beautiful artifacts offered in most charming souvenir shops.


TOP 20 ETHIOPIA TOURIST ATTRACTIONS: Orthodox Ethiopian Christiansa at a funeral, Lalibela, Ethiopia

TOP 20 ETHIOPIA TOURIST ATTRACTIONS: Basket shop, Axum, Ethiopia


Traditional huts and houses of Ethiopia

Well not as impressive as the many churches of Ethiopia, the different shapes and designs of the traditional houses in Ethiopia are are a hidden treasure of the Ethiopia Tourist Attractions waiting for you to be discovered.


TOP 20 ETHIOPIA TOURIST ATTRACTIONS: Tukul huts, Lalibela, Ethiopia

TOP 20 ETHIOPIA TOURIST ATTRACTIONS: Round thatched hut, Central Ethiopia


Ethiopia modernizes and changes more rapidly than any other country in Africa. Many features may not be there anymore in the near future. If you want to see it the way it was for thousands of years, see it now before it has changed forever! Compose your own once-in-a-lifetime Ethiopia-Africa-Adventure from our affordable modules:

Famous Ethiopia Historical Circuit

Simien Mountains trek or car visit

Danakil Depression and Erte Ale Volcano Expedition

Awash Babile Harar Safari Tour

Ethiopia Central and Southern Parks & Tribes Safari Tour

Bale Mountains National Park and Sof Omar Caves Tour

Gambella National Park Safari

Addis Ababa City Tour & Airport Transfer

All Ethiopia modules and prices together

We designed our itineraries in such a way that you can compose a 1 to 4 weeks journey from different modules that can show you the entire country or just the parts that interest you, all depending on your personal preferences, available time and budget. Email us on your interests and we can discuss a custom program with you by phone (we have phone lines from the USA and Europe) or skype. So, weather you have a great ethnic affinity, are a birdwatcher or want to go on safari, contact us and we work out a customized program that focuses on YOUR interests.

Blue Nile Falls, EthiopiaSt. George Church, LalibelaStellas, Axum, EthiopiaTukuls, Lalibela, EthiopiaElephant bull, Babile, EthiopiaEthiopian Wolf, Bale National Park

Gelada, Simien Mountains National ParkFacilides Bathroom, Gondar, EtiopiaWabia Ibex, Simien MountainsChurch, Lake Tana, EthiopiaErica trees, Bale Mountains National Park.Facilides Castle, Gondar, Ethiopia

Addis Ababa Bole International Airport is home of Ethiopian Airlines, featuring Africa's youngest fleet of the latest intercontinental jet airplanes - including 2 Dreamliners - as well as short-distance Bombardier turboprops for affordable and reliable in-country flights servicing all major cities of Ethiopia. The best airline of Africa, will fly you non-stop from the USA and Europe to Addis Ababa. Take our 1-week Ethiopia Cultural Monuments Tour and then continue for your Kenya or Tanzania safari - or any other East African capital - thus completing your journey. IF YOU BUY YOUR INTERNATIONAL TICKET FROM ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES, YOU WILL GET MOST INTERNAL FLIGHTS FOR $40 - $70 PER LEG! BUT CHANGING AFTERWARDS IS EXPENSIVE, SO WORK OUT A SCHEDULE WITH US TO GET A FABULOUS DEAL FOR FLYING THROUGH THE COUNTRY IN STEAD OF SPENDING ENDLESS TIME ON THE ROAD!!!


What makes us different from so many other tour operators?

Just look at the quality of our high resolution pictures. We took them all ourselves. We have thousands of high resolution pictures on this website, that you can see enlarged by clicking on them. These pictures show that we have been everywhere in the country of your interest and really know the details. We are professional explorers and biologists with MSc and PhD.


National Parks Tours Worldwide, a social responsibility and conservation company, is a brand name of the World Institute for Conservation & Environment, registered in the Netherlands with headquarters in the USA.


Phone USA:

(++)(1) 304 - 581 - 7740




Skype: ecotravelworldwide


Parks Man Dr. Daan Vreugdenhil is author of this website. He dedicated his life to the conservation of nature., He was part of the team that selected the first 39 protected areas of Ecuador in the 1970s and he initiated the Cuyabeno Lodge in Ecuador's Amazon in 1985, making him one of the world's eco tourism pioneers. A speaker of 8 languages and having traveled to 80+ countries, Dr. Daan Vreugdenhil has is one of the world's greatest connoisseurs of nature and national parks in the world.